Agents ‘M’ and ‘H’ have to prevent an imminent alien threat that poses a threat to the entire world. With an incredible first film and two mediocre sequels, Men In Black: International had a lot to do to make this franchise palatable and relevant again. Instead, it hit the final nail in the coffin. MIB: International was a bad movie and an even worse MIB movie.
On the surface, the technical presentation looks clean. It looks like an MIB movie and it feels like an MIB movie. Director F. Gary Gray was obviously inspired by how Barry Sonnenfeld helmed the prior three movies, ‘obviously’ being the key word in that sentence.
The chemistry between Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson is visible, but what this movie fails to crystallise is direction. It’s really lacking. It really feels like Sonnenfeld came back to direct and Gray does nothing to distinguish himself in this series because it genuinely feels so ‘bare bones’ and generic.
The aliens? There’s zero creativity behind the designs here. The comic timing falls incredibly flat because the dialogue is unbelievably sub-par. The story is entirely forgettable. Chris Hemsworth’s arch, which is linked to the beginning of the movie, has a very weak payoff because it’s a grossly insufficient through-line that the writing can’t seem to relevantly anchor.
The humour? The contrast of wits? The pacing? The oddball nature of this world? All of these components never found an efficacy in synergy. There was no positive correspondence between any of them because the movie feels so half-arsed, so complacent and so forgettable.
I will re-iterate: Hemsworth and Thompson are fine actors. But in a Men in Black movie? Their dynamic wasn’t strong enough. The dynamic needs variety, something that Jones & Smith nailed with ease in the other movies. I’m not saying they need to replicate their dynamic, but I didn’t like the direction they leaned towards. It’s clear that they work well together, but the direction was missed.
Thompson’s character in particular should’ve been properly established. We see how good she is based on pieces of paper showing good results, but we never see her in the field. We don’t know how capable she is; how do we as the audience know if she earned her place in MIB?
I don’t feel like she earned it and it just felt awkward. ‘J’ earned his place; ‘K’ recognised his potential and he gave him a shot. The first movie was straight, fair and honest with it, it’s backwards here, and I’m not a fan of that.
MIB: International looks good, it has respectable presentation, and the actors are fine. But everything else bombed badly. No fun, no excitement, no discerning wit, no intrigue, no real uncertainty to its environments. It lacked simplicity and complexity, ultimately making it dastardly lazy. Easily the worst entry in the franchise!
Written by Seán Mac G.